Opinions

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”

Written by: Ruth Dorman, Chair of the ALLIANCE board and Chief Executive, Deafblind Scotland

Published: 20/04/2018

walking into sunshine

As someone who has been at both ends of the table, Ruth encourages organisations big and small to apply for the Self Management Fund.

I am in a privileged position where, over the years I have had a multi-faceted view of the Self Management Fund: as the Chair of the ALLIANCE board; as a GAP (Grant Assessment Panel) member; and as the Chief Executive of a funded organisation.

As a panel member I am continually in awe at the passion and innovation that organisations across Scotland put into their application proposals. Applications come from varying sizes of organisations, from the very large National organisations, partnership groups formed together to achieve the outcomes of ‘ideas’, to the very small local organisations.

The application form itself is very straight forward, easy to say I know, if you have a team around you with lots of experience in such forms to help complete it, however, the beauty of the Self Management Fund process is that the team within the ALLIANCE are on hand to support and guide you through the application process. No question goes unanswered. Believe it or not the questions I have thought might sound ‘silly’ are usually the ones where most conversation occurs, you know the questions you have where you think “can I really say this or ask that”. The team are really keen to provide support so that all have an equal chance of achieving a successful application outcome.

From my perspective as Chief Executive of Deafblind Scotland (DbS) (this link will take you away from our website) we have been successful in achieving a grant, in the past. We thought this really was a long shot – we wanted to scope out need and understanding in respect to self management for Deafblind People living with long term conditions. The activity was not to achieve change but gather information to inform change and support strategies for the future. The key learning from this project was around the myriad of self management strategies which adults living with deafblindness employ on a day to day basis, however, there was overwhelming evidence of the barriers in access to self management and support for individuals living with deafblindness. Not only can these individuals not access self help for long terms conditions they live with, the nature and low incidence of their specific deafblindness also makes it geographically, financially and accessibly not viable to develop deafblind support groups across the country without considerable financial support to enable access of communication and information. This project highlighted the need to identify and engage with self management groups to ensure individuals who live with deafblindness can gain access and as such benefit from these groups. DbS have and continue to use and build upon the findings from this original project. We have been able to secure funding to develop awareness and access strategies within the self management networks for individuals who live with deafblindness and other long term conditions.

So, for those of you thinking about applying, or even thinking “this is not for us”, I would say (as yer granny might!) nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go on, what really is the worst that can happen from applying? It’s all learning and moving towards better lives lived.

Our member

Our Member

Deafblind Scotland

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